My, how time flies when you’re having fun! It is hard to believe that 10 years have passed since the Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program began. Congratulations to all of the facilities that have supported the SF/SF program and maintained certification over the years. The American Feed Industry Association established SF/SF in 2004 with a mission to create and promote generally accepted food safety guidelines for the feed industry designed to ensure continuous improvement in the delivery of a safe and wholesome feed supply for the growth and care of animals. During the past 10 years, the SF/SF program has experienced several improvements to meet the expanding needs of our members.
Historical Perspective. In 2006, the requirements of the program were reviewed and the certification requirements were expanded (Figure 1). Reciprocal certifications were recognized for facilities with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, or HACCP, or Animal Protein Producers Industry certifications. In addition, auditor training was strengthened to improve the quality of the audits completed.
In 2010, AFIA expanded its certifications by adding the International SF/SF Certification Program. AFIA developed an alliance with the European Feed Additives and Premixtures Quality System (FAMI-QS) to offer its program to the U.S. feed industry under the international SF/SF program, which provides suppliers and manufacturers of feed additive and premixes, a globally recognized certification for animal food safety. This was considered a key step as it expanded the recognition of the program into other countries.
The following year, AFIA recognized pet food required higher quality and food safety standards than most animal feeds. While regulatory requirements between animal feed and pet food remained similar, the customer expectations were greater in regards to food safety due to pet food high presence within the home. Thus, AFIA, with strong member support and collaboration, launched two feed safety certifications designed for the pet food industry: Pet Food Manufacturing Facility Certification (PFMFC) and Pet Food Ingredient Facility Certification (PFIFC). The certifications followed food safety requirements that were developed based on guidance provided by the AFIA Pet Food Committee.
In October 2013, the SF/SF program was expanded once again. AFIA updated the SF/SF program and aligned with the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) to administer the SF/SF certifications. With the support from SQFI, certification options for animal feed and pet food gained global recognition through benchmarking with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Thus, the PFMFC and PFIFC gained GFSI recognition as FSC32 within the SQF code 7.2. Likewise, SF/SF for animal feed gained GFSI recognition as FSC34, which is an additional certification option. The original SF/SF certification was expanded to meet the anticipated requirements to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act proposed rule and it was assigned a new name—FSC36 SF/SF certification.
Current status. Today, AFIA members have four certification options (Figure 2). Each certification scheme is designed to drive continuous improvement within a facility’s quality and food safety program.
The interest in the SF/SF certification programs continues to grow. A listing of the number of certifications by program is shown in Figure 3.
Since the alignment with SQFI, the GFSI certifications for animal feed (FSC34) and pet food (FSC32) have expanded on a global level with 45 facilities certified within North America and approval pending for many more. In addition, almost 20 facilities have obtained FSC32 or FSC34 certifications located in countries outside of North America, including Australia, China, Brazil, Guatemala, Japan, Korea and Mexico.
More than 30 facilities maintain international SF/SF certification, a program that is maintained and administered by FAMI-QS. The certification complies with the European Union regulations for feed safety and hygiene. Awareness training sessions held by AFIA over the past several years for international SF/SF have been well attended indicating interest in the global certification remains high. AFIA will continue to provide additional training about this program in 2015.
The domestic North American SF/SF Program (FSC36) continues to be the most popular certification program for North American facilities. An update in the guidance document describing the requirements for FSC36 SF/SF certification is under development and review by the AFIA Quality Committee. The goal is provide a certification program that meets the regulatory requirements for FSMA as well as drive continuous improvement within the facility’s quality and food safety program.
AFIA appreciates the industry’s continued commitment to the Safe Feed/Safe Food programs and dedication to ensuring continuous improvement in the delivery of a safe and wholesome feed supply for the growth and care of animals. AFIA maintains its commitment to help its members and the total feed industry to develop quality and food safety programs to meet and exceed the expectations of its customers.
Please contact Henry Turlington, AFIA director of quality and manufacturing regulatory affairs, at (703) 650-0146 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about any of these programs.